When patients are diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, they often seek the consultation of an oncologist who specializes in the type of cancer they have, for instance lung cancer. For terminally ill patients, American Care is the comfort care specialist patients need to control pain and other end-of-life symptoms.
American Care has two driving principles:
1) No patient should die alone.
2) No patient should die in pain.
Pain management is one of the primary goals of hospice care – keeping the patient comfortable and managing symptoms to ensure they have the highest quality of life for as long as they live.
Not all patients experience pain at end of life, but recognizing it and treating it effectively is essential. The hospice care team will evaluate a patient’s pain on every visit using pain rating scales and the expertise of the clinician.
There are several hospice pain management scales including a 0-10 Numeric Pain Rating Scale, the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale, and the FLACC scale.
The Numeric Pain Rating Scale goes from a zero = no pain to ten = worst possible pain.
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale simplifies this to a smiley face signifying nothing hurts to a crying face for the worst pain ever experienced.
American Care uses the FLACC scale which goes from zero = no pain to ten = severe pain. The FLACC scale assesses for five different categories including the face, legs, activity, crying, and consolability.
The FLACC scale is particularly helpful when assessing pain in patients who are unable to communicate needs, whether that is because they are nonverbal or simply sleeping.